Alida M. (Van Tol) VanDerGeest
Alida M. (Van Tol) VanDerGeest, age 103, passed away peacefully on July 1, 2022, in her retirement home in Albuquerque, surrounded by many of her family members.
She lived a long and happy life, and is now reunited with her beloved husband, Jacob, of 56 years, who died in January 2000. Alida had been looking forward to her reunion with Jacob, two pre-deceased daughters and all her Holland siblings in heaven.
She is survived by six children, 16 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
Alida was born July 24, 1918, in Woubrugge, Holland, or the Netherlands. She was the fifth child in a family of eight, and married into a family of eight. Alida never forgot her large family in Holland. She was forever writing and receiving letters and made many trips back to Holland and in return they visited America.
Alida had a strong work ethic, shaped in part by the effects of World Wars I and II. Her first out-of-home work started with a local family in Holland, at the age of 13, as a live-in nanny. The hard work continued when she married a dairy farmer, Jacob, in 1944.
Alida and Jacob immigrated to America in June 1956 with their five children and one more on the way. Although she spoke little English when they arrived, she quickly learned and became the interface for the family to the new culture of New Mexico. Alida’s fluency in two languages also played out though her life with her children, who mostly understood Dutch, but also to tease the grandkids, who didn’t.
She never stopped learning with a voracious love of reading and instilled this same drive in her children. Alida’s first home in America was in Velarde, N.M., then in Albuquerque and Belen before settling in Los Chavez. The family worked hard on multiple dairy farms until they were finally able to purchase one of their own in Los Chavez in 1964.
Running their family farm, a dream born in Holland, meant there was always more work to be done. Alida could milk the cows, clean the barns and return to the kitchen to create delicious dishes, all without missing a beat. Her recipes are still coveted and handed down today.
She loved hosting family for get-togethers on Sundays and holidays. Family was everything to Alida. She never forgot those in Holland, where she was the last survivor of her generation. Alida loved her growing family, with more great and great-great grandchildren on the way.
She loved playing games and was very competitive! She always “played to win,” and never took it easy on any crying grandchild.
Despite life slowing down during stages of retirement from the dairy business in 1974, she never stopped walking miles a day and continued through the final stages of her life at Paloma Landing. She loved to give back to the church and volunteered at the Legion of Mary in Belen.
With a tall family, Alida developed an interest in basketball and a love for the Lobos, whom she would follow on TV and radio. She loved to watch “Dancing with the Stars,” as it reminded her of dancing on ice. Alida ice skated with her husband in her younger days in Holland. Another favorite, “Ninja Warrior,” would get a cheer for their agility but also a laugh when people fell into the water.
Alida leaves a legacy of love for our Creator, God, and her wisdom to all of her surviving family, at home and abroad. The family will be looking for her guidance in heaven, along with God’s help. She will be remembered for her smile, sense of humor and never-ending love.
In her memory many funny but heart-felt stories will be told. We love you Oma!
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a charity in her name.
A final visitation will be held at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, July 7, followed by a Funeral Mass at 9:30 a.m. at Risen Savior Catholic Church, 7701 Wyoming NE, Albuquerque. Interment will follow the services at Our Lady of Belen Memorial Gardens, where Alida will be buried alongside her husband.
Please sign Alida’s online tribute at romerofuneralhomenm.com. Romero Funeral Home, 609 N. Main St., Belen.
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